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Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  522 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews

Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat.

Poetry can have both a rhyme and a rhythm. Sometimes it is obvious; sometimes it is hidden. But either way, make no mistake, poetry is as vibrant and exciting as it gets. And when you find yourself clapping your hands or tapping your feet, you know you've found poetry with a beat!

Like Poetry Speaks to Child

Hardcover, 72 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Sourcebooks
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Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
The best of this poetry, imho, is Hip Hop; but most of it isn't, and a lot of it isn't particularly beat driven. The performances on the accompanying CD also vary greatly in their resemblance to HipHop.
I have nothing against the poetry here, some of it is quite good. But kids know what is and isn't hip hop. Hip Hop deserves respect in its own right and shouldn't be used as a shill to get kids to read poetry.
Jessica Sheaffer
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I read this poetry anthology on audio CD, and this is my review:

Hip Hop Speaks to Children, is a compilation of poems that are written, illustrated and performed by a diverse group of writers, artists and musicians, all of who have earned notoriety for their unique contributions to their fields. Among some of the many award-winning writers are Eloise Greenfield, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr. Some of the musicians, who perform their poems are Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah,
Becca Cohen
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This anthology of poems was put together by Nikki Giovanni to excite and inspire young readers to love poetry. The book includes poems from popular poets such as Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, as well as song lyrics from Kanye West and Queen Latifah. The individual poems span a variety of themes and topics. Some are about love or family and some are more specific to the culture of the particular poet. The dialect in some of the poems follows that of the poet's background and experiences, rath ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I spent weeks looking for quality contemporary poetry for children that was both appealing and appropriate; many childrens' collections and anthologies I encountered contained a lot of "classic" poetry that - while certainly of good quality - became difficult to read and explain to young students considering their often-dated language and cumbersome turns of phrase. "Poetry should be felt, not simply heard," I'd thought, but this is lost on many children who are still acquiring an understanding ...more
CH13_Lisa Matthews
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vii-poetry
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat is a beautiful book. I read the book first; the poetry without the CD so that I could try to get the beat of the poem. Then I read the poem with the CD and I must say it was much better reading the poem with the CD playing giving me the beat of the poem. There are poem from carious artist and poet such as A Tribe Called Quest reading "Ham ‘N Eggs", Gary Soto reading his own poem "Music for Fun and Profit", Ms. Giovanni reading "The ...more
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Back in high school, probably in 1974-1975, one of my English classes was a 6 week course in Oral Interpretation; basically it was reading poetry aloud and if the poem rhymed or had rhythm we were NOT supposed to follow that, but instead read it straight. That always seemed somewhat (and occasionally) ridiculous since the rhyme and rhythm were there for a reason. Ok, I do understand that the poems shouldn't be read in a sing song style, but sometimes by reading them straight I think you miss som ...more
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rll520-poetry
Incredible compilation of poetry by over 40 poets and authors. Giovanni provides a lengthy history of stories told in rhythm from opera to blues to hamboning to hip hop - or poetry with a beat. A wide range of styles, eras and poets, with several dozen performances or readings on the accompanying cd, some by the poets themselves. (I got to hear Langston Hughes read his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" !!) This book can help get students into the beauty and the range of poetry. Besides the poem ...more
Kate Chambers
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
This book brings poetry to life, blurring the line between poetry and rap music in an addicting way. I purchased this book with the cd that has recordings of many of the poems being read by the poet, some with music or to a beat. The poems range in complexity- all of them are appropriate for middle school but some may be a struggle for elementary students. Beautiful, bright illustrations make it appealing from the cover on through the book. Definitely consider adding this book to your collection ...more
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Credit Sourcebooks Jabberwocky with knowing a good thing when they see it. When Poetry Speaks to Children came out it was a brilliant collection of poems for kids with an accompanying CD of poets, both alive and deceased, reading their poetry straight out. And in this day and age if you put out a book of poems for kids then it shouldn’t be that much more difficult to put out a book of hip hop and rap as well. Or, as the new collection Hip Hop Speaks to Children calls it, “poetry with a beat.” C ...more
Introducing poetry to a classroom of young children who think they can 'spit', 'free style' or 'congregate' a rhyme without knowing the style nor how to conform, this is the book to correct their incite.
A collection of 92 poems from various poets and rappers that speak with a singing tone, narrate every other poem and rap to a beat of their own. Wow, I did not think I could free style a rhyme. Well this is just a tip of how this book flows. Included is a CD disk with the award winning poet Ms.
Dawn Laws
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is a poetry book full of fun, it is a compilation of poems form different poets all put in one for children to enjoy.

I rated this 5/5 because of the poem choices that were put in the book and it's fun for kids to get into poetry when they can relate to them and they are fun1
Tracy Holland
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this anthology, poetry in the thorn of hip hop and rap is written for children and performed by either the poet, or famous artists. Poetry and rhythm will resonate with all who read this book.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked how this book came with a cd to allow students to listen while they read. I also enjoyed the poetry that was written in this book.
Oct 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anna Horner
I received Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by Nikki Giovanni from Danielle at Sourcebooks, and Giovanni continues to make television and radio experiences about the book.

Poetry often has an internal rhythm like everyday speech does, and Hip Hop has taken that rhythm and modified it to create a modern day form of poetry, which engages younger generations and children by making poetry fun.

This book came with an audio CD, which you can use to read along with the book or skip around in the book to
Nicole Lamb
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Junior Book Critique #17

Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat
Edited By: Nikki Giovanni

1. Junior Book Genre: Poetry

2. Brief Summary: Nikki Giovanni, a world renowned poet and author, compiles a brilliant selection of poetry that celebrates not only hip hop but the use of rhythm and rhyme in traditional poetry itself. Giovanni gives a wonderful introduction to the history of hip hop and the correlation to the world of poetry. Through the use of vivid and bright illustrati
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a delightful and enlightening collection of poetry from various Poets, several performed by the authors themselves, on the included audio CD. With beautiful pictures depicting the poems and the contagious beat that the words pound out, this is a collection sure to capture the interest of all ages. Geared toward the 9 - 12 age group, this easily goes beyond that. As an adult, I greatly enjoyed each poem and as I read them out loud to my 6 year old daughter, she boppe ...more
This book/cd is a must-have! Children will be encouraged to put their words to poetry and beats. Teachers will be encouraged to allow the artists to speak to children. I highly recommend this book, especially for children who are reluctant poetry readers. (I should know, I used to be one of them!) Hip Hop Speaks to Children makes poetry fun, incredibly accessible, and meaningful for children.

Age Level: 8 and up Grade Level: 3 and up


This anthology highlights the use of rhythm a
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books-ya
I decided to write a review of this book for January because I think it's a great way to return from the holidays and jump into something creative and fun. Sure, National Poetry Month is in April, but most US school systems probably include poetic/figurative language much earlier than that. In our state, we are preparing for the dreaded testing in April, so poetry gets pushed waaayyy back on the burner.

This book includes a CD with some poems read by the original poets, including LANGSTON HUGHES
Amanda Delegram
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eced-221

This book of poetry consisted of many different poems that all had some kind of message to teach your or make you think about. Most of the poems if not all were focused around African American culture however they had a lot of really good messages that could be shared with any culture.

Sounds: This book of poetry had a very mixture of many different sounds. Some poems were focused on rap and hip hop music and others rhymed and has a specific rhymes. There was no specific sound fo
Justice Parker
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This poetry book is a series of poems written by various poets, famous musicians, and other writers, that took poetry to the next level. Each poem is accompanied by a hip-hop song, that tells a story about day to day life experiences people face, environments children grow up in, major historical events that occurred, how our emotions affect us, and how our personalities shape us into the person we are. This book shows diversity in all aspects for children to understand and implement music to sh ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Nikki Giovanni edited this collection, which includes writers known for written poetry as well as recorded song lyrics. Her introduction describes hip hop, opera, and the call-and-response form as expressions of people's daily lives at the time. Six different illustrators use vibrant colors to express the words of poems that speak to children's own creative expression and to (mostly) black history in the U.S. There is a good balance of male and female writers. The accompanying CD includes more t ...more
Meaghan Grady
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat By: Nikki Giovanni
Meaghan G., Spring 2015

*Poetry #1 (NCTE Notable Poetry Books)*

THANK YOU DR. O FOR RECOMMENDING THIS BOOK FOR ME! This was by far the best poetry book that I have ever read and listened to on audio! This book was fun-filled and catchy. This poetry book makes reading poems more motivational and fun! The author provides pages and pages of historical stories told in rhymes and songs from poetry writers to musical geni
Rachel Walker
Dec 07, 2012 added it
Shelves: poetry
Sometimes stepping away from the norm in a classroom is needed to gain the interest of students. The 2007 New York Times Best Seller book, Hip Hop Speaks to Children (a Celebration of Poetry with a Beat) edited by Nikki Giovanni is a collection of 51 poems by various authors such as; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelo, Langston Hughes and etc.. The poems are illustrated by multiple illustrators such as; Damian Ward, Caroline Wolf and many more. The book also comes along with a CD which has recordings ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
1. "Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat" written by Nikki Giovanni is a collection of poems for children that touches upon a variety of topics. Family relationships, issues of self-esteem, feelings, race issues, historical figures and their impacts are all included in this book of poetry. The poetry intricately preserves the rhythm of music within the text.

2. A great collection of poems to engage the reader who loves music! Wonderful connections to social issues, hist
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Hip Hop Speaks to Children is an enlightening collection of poems from many poets whom are living and dead. The book also comes with a CD that can teach students rhythm and emotion when reading poems. I read the poems and then listened to the CD. Listening to the CD brought the poems to life. Most of the poems read were from the voice of poets. Poems in this book were by some of my favorite poets such as Langston Hughes, Tupac Du Bois, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kanye West, Maya Angelou, ...more
Tots R
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat by Nikki Giovanni (Audio Book)

This is one of the best poetry books I have seen this far. This book comes with an audio CD to allow children to listen. Music is a key factor when trying to help a child learn. I ended this book to my collection recently and I definitely have to say this book will be a keeper. This book makes reading fun and motivational. As my children listen to the sounds in the words they are bop in their head and d
Mrs. Blomquist
This audio/visual book can be appealing to a large range of children. The CD itself is great to listen to as a variety of voices such as Langston Hughes, Queen Latifiah, Tupac and A Tribe Called Quest, all positive African American artists, contribute to the success and excitement of the CD. The actual book is filled with a variety of artistic illustrations, as each poem has been illustrated by someone different.

The majority of poems found within this book use language that is common among Afri
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry With a Beat edited by Nikki Giovanni ( also a poet and writter) was a magnificant poetry book dedicated to children. I believe that children at the age of four to ten would love this book. It gives preschool children a chance to be introduced to poetry in a lyrical and historical way. The book came with a CD which would be great to allow the child to hear how the rythum of the words are presented. The book introduced poems from many ar ...more
S10_Jessica Oster
format: picture book with audio CD
age: grades 3-8
protagonist: n/a

Giovanni, N. (2008). Hip hop speaks to children: A celebration of poetry with a beat. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.
This creative collection includes poems from many well known African American musical artists, poets, and civil rights leaders. Also included is an audio CD in which many of the poems are performed by their original artists, and some tracks even offer a bit of historical or background information to further
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Putting poetry to beats is a creative idea, and Nikki Giovanni does an excellent job in putting together a collection of 51 poems for the book "Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat." The poems are written by various authors and include various forms. There are classical poets like Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. Then, there are some that I never would have expected to see like The Sugar Hill Gang, Tupac Shakur and Kanye West. Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham would b ...more
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Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni is a Grammy-nominated American poet, activist and author. She has written numerous volumes of poetry and has been honored with loads of awards, including 20 honorary degrees from national colleges and universities. Her poems are undeniably authentic distillations of black life in America. She was editor of Fisk University's literary magazine. She lives in Blacksbu ...more
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